IGF 2020 WS #43 Trusted Digital Space via PRIDA–Informed Transformed Africa

Time
Monday, 9th November, 2020 (12:10 UTC) - Monday, 9th November, 2020 (13:40 UTC)
Room
Room 3
About this Session
Session focus is trust & CBM in cyberspace in the context of Africa. Space to discuss issues of trust that hinders the use & utilization by AUC member states of the advanced data-driven digital services, such as IOT, big data, AI & ML. Challenges & opportunities presented by the global processes of digitalisation & datafication will be highlighted including the role of stakeholders in developing governance frameworks for a safe & trusted online space ie Ratification of Malabo Convention.
Thematic Track

Organizer 1: Margaret Nyambura Ndung'u, Africa Union Commission - PRIDA TA
Organizer 2: Adil Ismail Sulieman, The African Union Commission
Organizer 3: Makane Faye, African Union
Organizer 4: Barrack Otieno, Kenya Internet Governance Forum (KICTANET)
Organizer 5: Hanane Boujemi, DiploFoundation

Speaker 1: Moctar Yedaly, Intergovernmental Organization, African Group
Speaker 2: Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola , Private Sector, African Group
Speaker 3: NNENNA IFEANYI-AJUFO, ,

Additional Speakers
  1. 4.  Mr. Vladimir Radunovic – DiPLO Foundatio
  2. 5  Dr. Alison Gillwald,  Executive Director - Research ICT Africa
Moderator

Adil Ismail Sulieman, Intergovernmental Organization, African Group

Online Moderator

Hanane Boujemi, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Rapporteur

Peterking Quaye, Civil Society, African Group

Format

Panel - Auditorium - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

The session will attempt to answer the following questions

  1. What is the role of continental organizations such as the African Union Commission in building trust in the Cyberspace for member states to confidently engage?  What is the role of the member states?  How can African Member States be cyber resilient and develop cyber defense policies, strategies and capabilities? How can we build and improve trust among the African stakeholders in the Cyberspace?  
  2. With the exponential growth of digital technologies globally, how can African states reap maximum benefits while trying to remain sovereign?   What more can be done to build the necessary trust which is a prerequisite to reap the benefits of the digital space? 
  3. Africans’ active presence and participation in the global digital space and related processes is relatively low.   Notwithstanding, Africa has a pool of knowledgeable and educated human capacity that can play a critical role in the development of Internet public policy and technical standards. Why the disconnect?  What role can AUC and other regional organizations play?  
  4. Could ratification of Malabo Convention be the panacea for a united continent with shared norms, standards and principles, providing a common voice and a base for trust building across the continent? 
  5. Use of digital currencies ranging from mobile money to credit cards has been a lifeline during the COVID-19 pandemic, what structures should African States put in place, including policies and strategies for continuity in a trusted digital space.    
  6. What Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) should stakeholders in cyberspace advance to reduce and eliminate causes of mistrust, fear, misunderstanding, misinformation and miscalculation that may stem from the use of Digital technologies? What are the responsibilities of public authorities in regulating or policing content, and where and how should the balance be struck between freedom of expression and public safety?
  7. How do we draw the line between freedom of expression, privacy and security? What should be the norms, standards and principles of responsible behavior in cyberspace? Is there a need for oversight on the application of the rules to ensure conformation across the Continent?  Should these norms, standards and principles be contextualized to address the local environment?
  8. Children are at more risk when exposed to the digital space without adequate and comprehensive policies and strategies to safeguard their interests. The risks include sexual exploitation, radicalization and distribution of extremism materials. What possible measures can mitigate their plight? 

The session will focus on trust and Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in cyberspace in the context of Africa.  This workshop will be a forum to discuss issues of trust that hinders the use and utilization by the AUC member states of the advanced data centric digital services, available globally such as Internet of Things (IOT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).  The workshop will highlight the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital space and the role that the public, private sector, media, academia and the civil society can play, ultimately creating a safe and trusted online space for all to flourish.   The Malabo convention shall be discussed and opportunities presented to member states by ratifying it highlighted. 

This is premised on the fact that the nature of the Internet and how it is organized affects its security and influences people’s perceptions, interactions and how freely data flows.  To fully embrace the digital revolution, Africa must devise an integrated and comprehensive strategy, involving all stakeholders in the region, from the public, private sectors, academia and the civil society.   A prerequisite to the success of this effort is building trust and confidence in the digital space. Without a reliable and secure Internet, there will be no online or digital trust, considering that digital devices are easily used for surveillance and espionage. Trust is undermined by various incidences in the digital space value chain.  With the current COVID-19 pandemic, surveillance has increased, where governments are tracking movement of people and their contacts, mobile network operators are sharing geo-location data and the global tech companies are sharing location maps.  E-health and telemedicine applications including Artificial Intelligence powered diagnostics are on the rise.  Users who range from individuals in businesses or in their own capacity, academia, civil society, private and the public sector will need to trust the digital space and have confidence that their data and information will be used for the common good. 

SDGs

GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Background Information
Africa has made major headway in developing its digital ecosystem in the past decade ‎culminating in the adoption by the African Union Heads of State and Government of the ‎Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa 2020-2030 early this year. Nonetheless, there is still ‎an evident gap among AU Member States in terms of digital maturity, awareness, ‎understanding, knowledge and capacity to deploy and adopt the proper strategies, ‎capabilities and programs to mitigate cyber threats. The ongoing digital transformation in ‎Africa will not provide the desired social and economic benefits unless Africans have access ‎to a secure and trusted Internet. ‎

The rapid growth of the Internet has created new opportunities that can be exploited. However, ‎because of the apparent digital divide, the benefits are not reaching all Africans equally ‎leaving some communities and groups behind.  Another dimension to consider, is that while ‎digital technologies expand the possibilities for people to enjoy freedoms and the right to ‎information and knowledge access, as people come on line they face a number of potential ‎harms from the use of their data without their consent and lack of protection of their personal ‎data, to illegitimate commercial and state surveillance, cybercrime and cyber terrorism.  ‎Information and data governance and cybersecurity need to be a top priority for all ‎governments  . The African Union recognises cyber security and data protection as an ‎integral and indivisible part of technological and digital revolution. These safeguards are ‎esential  to creating the trusted environment necessary for  e-commerce, e-government and  ‎digital services generally to take off. Digital inclusion, with the necessary protections for ‎citizens will be an essential lever in post-COVID-19 economic reconstruction across the ‎continent and a determinant of the degree to which countries will able to benefit from the ‎African Continental Free Trade Agreement. ‎
In 2014, the African Union Commission adopted the Malabo Convention on Cyber Security and ‎Personal Data Protection to provide fundamental principles and guidelines to ensure an ‎effective protection of personal data and create a safe digital environment for citizens’ ‎security and privacy of individuals’ online data. This is considered an important first step in ‎establishing a uniform system of data processing and determining a common set of rules to ‎govern cross-border transfer of data to avoid divergent regulatory approaches between the ‎African Union Member States and ensure a safe digital space for Africans. This will also ‎facilitate any data transfer agreements involving other continents/states.  However, despite ‎the development of these important ‘trust’ instruments, only 8 countries have ratified the ‎convention, limiting its implementation and harmonising effects across the continent. ‎

What would be intended agenda for the session?
The session will focus on trust and Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in cyberspace in ‎the context of Africa.  This workshop will be a forum to discuss issues of trust that hinders ‎the use and utilization by the AUC member states of the advanced data-driven digital ‎services, available globally such as Internet of Things (IOT), big data, Artificial Intelligence ‎‎(AI) and machine learning.  The workshop will highlight the challenges and opportunities ‎presented by the global processes of digitalisation and datafication  and the role that the ‎public, private sector, media, academia and the civil society can play in developing the ‎governance frameworks necessary for the creation of a safe and trusted online space for all ‎to flourish.   Amongst other aspects of global and regional collaboration, the Malabo ‎convention shall be discussed and opportunities presented to member states by ratifying it ‎highlighted.  ‎
This is premised on the fact that the nature of the Internet and how it is organized affects its ‎security and influences people’s perceptions, interactions and how freely data flows.  To fully ‎embrace the digital revolution, Africa must devise an integrated and comprehensive strategy, ‎involving all stakeholders in the region, from the public, private sectors, academia and the ‎civil society.   A prerequisite to the success of this effort is building trust and confidence in the ‎digital space. Without a reliable and secure Internet, there will be no online or digital trust, ‎considering that digital devices are easily used for illegitimate purposes including commercial ‎and state surveillance and espionage. Trust is undermined by various incidences in the digital ‎value chain.  Frameworks have to be able to accommodate both individual and collective ‎interests. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, mass surveillance has increased, where ‎governments are tracking movement of people and their contacts, mobile network operators ‎are sharing geo-location data and the global tech companies are sharing location maps. The ‎need for measure that safeguards private information of citizens under these circumstances ‎will determine the degree to which individuals comply, report and utilize pandemic containing ‎and contact tracing apps. E-health and telemedicine applications including Artificial ‎Intelligence powered diagnostics are on the rise.  Users who range from individuals in ‎businesses or in their own capacity, academia, civil society, private and the public sector will ‎need to trust the digital space and have confidence that their data and information will be ‎used for the common good.  ‎

Expected Outcomes
  • The workshop will produce a report to be posted among others in the African IGF and PRIDA website and other appropriate websites
  • The workshop deliberations shall inform African 2021 national, regional and continental IGFs and PRIDA capacity building initiatives across the continent.

Through the workshop, awareness will be created on the Malabo convention and opportunities and challenges explored

1.Five panelist will each strictly have four minutes to set the background. 2. The moderator will ensure that the audience have 35 minutes of discussion. Further discussions will be encouraged offline. 

 

Relevance to Internet Governance: The workshop will contribute towards strengthening the African voice in the global debate on Internet governance, making African issues a priority which in turn has the potential to make global Internet policies and standards more appropriate to the African context.  This would create a more viable and conducive environment for digital innovations and mainstreaming digital technologies in all development sectors.

Relevance to Theme: Successful implementation of Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and AU Agenda 2063 aspirations calls for sufficient trust in the online space.  In particular, goal 9 focuses on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation while goal 17 focuses on strengthening the means of implementation and revitalizing Global Partnerships for Sustainable Development. Innovation and global partnership in the digital age can only flourish in a space where stakeholders are confident with the security of infrastructure and integrity of the processes to ensure that data and information derived is trustworthy.

Online Participation

 

Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: Before the Global IGF, we will start online discussions focused on Continental common position on Global IG issues in order to build the momentum. We will also publicise the workshop on the African Union Commission website and in communication with the member states. During the National and Regional IG participants will be notified of the meeting and and encouraged to register.

 

Agenda

The session will be a policy dialogue discussion among IG experts from Africa under the coordination of the African Union Commission (AUC). This will be a 90 minutes’ panel discussion. There will be five panelists and a moderator. The moderator will have 5 minutes to introduce the session. After which each panelist will be given 4 minutes to make introductory remarks that will be focused towards broad issues highlighted. The moderator will then ask specific questions to the panelists that will take 20 minutes. The floor will be opened to the public for a discussion session that will take 35 minutes. The panelists will then have a total of 10 minutes to make closing remarks. It is approximated that the session will have close to 100 participants that would include diplomats, parliamentarians and senior policy makers across Africa. The methodology adopted will support practical outcomes. The panelist for the session are expert in the area related to trust and having worked on continental projects, they understand the issues from a technical/ practical point of view as well as from a policy perspective. African Union Commission is keen to promote a safe digital space for the continent and this workshop will be a good platform to receive views from stakeholders.